Though the season is only two weeks old, rumors have swirled about which teams will be buyers and which will be sellers when July’s trade deadline approaches.
While some teams on this list are off to decent starts, it’s a long season, and the teams’ track records mean a fade is likely.
As the contenders gear up for a postseason run, they will look to acquire proven talent from the sellers to add depth to their rosters.
Here are five teams that may be sellers at the trade deadline.
The Mariners find themselves in the cellar of the A.L. West once again, as the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are off to fast starts.
The Mariners are still a few years away, and may look to unload some payroll in exchange for prospects.
The volatile Milton Bradley will be a free agent at year’s end. Though contenders may not want to add him for his attitude, he can provide valuable outfield depth.
Right-handed reliever Chris Ray could bolster a contender’s bullpen.
While Erik Bedard could be made available, it’s highly unlikely that the Mariners part ways with Felix Hernandez. He still has four years left on his contract and already has said he wouldn’t pitch in a big market.
However, if the Mariners are given an offer they can’t refuse, do they pull the trigger?
The Blue Jays have the unfortunate luck of playing in a division that includes the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Even though the Red Sox are off to a slow start, they’ll be back in the thick of things before too long.
Toronto has some young pieces to build around, so it may look to be sellers at the deadline to acquire the final young prospects for next season.
Relievers Shawn Camp and Jon Rauch will be 36 and 33, respectively, at season’s end. They may be hot commodities at the deadline for teams looking to shore up their bullpens.
Aaron Hill could be made available for the right price. Hill has back-to-back $8 million options the next two seasons, but has struggled to match his breakout year in 2009.
The Blue Jays have youngster Brett Lawrie waiting in the minors to take over an infield spot. If Toronto trades Hill, Lawrie could fill in at second.
The Indians are off to a fast start, and sit atop the A.L. Central division with the Kansas City Royals.
The Minnesota Twins have been plagued by the injury bug and the Chicago White Sox bullpen has blown too many games.
Though the Indians are a nice early season story, let’s see if they can keep up their hot start. If not, they may be prime candidates to make some deadline deals.
The injury-prone Grady Sizemore recently returned from injury. If he can prove he’s healthy, the Indians may be inclined to move him while his value is still high rather than wait for the offseason. Michael Brantley will be Cleveland’s center fielder of the future.
A healthy Sizemore could provide speed and a little pop atop of a contender’s batting order. The Indians would be wise to strike a deal for Sizemore while the iron is hot.
If things stay the way they are in the N.L. Central, we’re in for a dogfight to the finish.
If that’s the case, the Brewers may look to be buyers rather than sellers.
However, if Zack Greinke doesn’t return to form upon his return and injuries to Corey Hart, Latroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito continue to plague the team, the Brewers may slip out of contention.
As a result, the Brewers soon-to-be free-agent slugger Prince Fielder may be a trade target. Fielder will likely command a multi-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $100 million.
If the Brewers know they will be unable to match his demands, Milwaukee will look to get as much value as possible in return for the hefty first baseman.
The real question centers on whether a contending team would give up top prospects for a rental player.
The Mets have been playing lackluster baseball in the early going. The new ownership hasn’t stopped the team from making the same old mistakes.
Aging slugger Carlos Beltran is a free agent at season’s end. He can provide some offense to a contender, but most likely an American team looking for a DH-type player. Knee injuries over the past two seasons have limited his mobility in the outfield.
Beltran doesn’t appear to be part of the Mets future, so losing him would not be a big deal.
However, dynamic shortstop Jose Reyes will also be a free agent. When healthy, he is one of the most exciting players in the game.
He’s off to a torrid start, so if the Mets fall out of contention, they may consider trading their star. The Boston Red Sox would be a logical fit.
Though many Mets fans—myself included—would like to see Reyes finish his career in Flushing, it’s been rumored that new Mets GM Sandy Alderson will not give Reyes a $100 million deal.
If that’s the case, the Mets should look to acquire young, impact starting pitchers in return for Reyes.
There may be few Mets who are untouchable at the deadline if the team winds up in the cellar.